John O. Fox was the son of Captain Abiel Fox and his wife Judith Perry. He was born in West Woodstock, July 5th, 1817, and received his education at the common schools near his home, and at the Nichols Academy, at Dudley. His father kept a store at Woodstock, but later removed to Providence, where he was the landlord of a popular public house, well known as ” Fox’s Tavern.” On his decease the family returned to Woodstock. Mr. Fox, before his majority was attained, had formed a copartnership with his brother-in-law, John P. Chamberlin, in trade, and in the manufacture of shoes. They were successful until the financial crisis of 1837, which swept away not only the firm of Chamberlin & Fox, but many other business men of the town. In this failure was involved not only the patrimony, but the earnings of Mr. Fox, and a new start in life was the only alternative. He therefore, in 1840, removed to Putnam, then a rising young village, and was soon appointed to the charge of the depot. This connection was maintained for a period of thirty years, and he himself was the headquarters for the marketing of much of the produce for the adjoining towns, which was shipped to Boston and Providence. He kept for years the only livery stable in the town, and was the first person to bring finished lumber into the place ‘for building purposes.
He was one of the leading and influential men of the town, foremost in every enterprise resulting in its growth and development, and ever ready to fill any local office, however inconvenient, that was bestowed upon him. He was for years a director of both the First National Bank and the Savings Bank of Putnam. In all his relations, whether of a public nature or connected with private business, his course was characterized by the most absolute integrity. He was a man of indomitable will and unbounded perseverance, acting in all things consistently with his view of the subject, irrespective of the opinion of the majority. In politics a democrat, he was never offensive, yet always ready to defend his convictions. Self-reliant, observant, and possessing excellent judgment, his business career readily marked him as a successful man. Mr. Fox, in connection with his lumber interests, purchased a tract of land in Florida, which he devoted to the uses of an orange grove. Here he was accustomed to spend his winters, and each succeeding season found him looking forward with great pleasure to his period of rest in the South.
In 184S Mr. Fox married Miss Eliza Phillips, whose two children are a son, John 0., Jr., and a daughter, Hattie. The death of John 0. Fox occurred in Florida, on the 11th of February, 1889.